Sunday, 15 March 2015

Against the grain

Hello there peeps! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and all you UK mums were totally spoiled today. 

Our weekend was very much light and shade over here in Sri Lanka. It poured with rain all day yesterday, but we've been rewarded with brilliant sunshine today. We can't complain (I wouldn't dare!) - a grey day yesterday meant we got some important admin done, leaving us free to head to the beach and witness this scene today:


No filter on that baby! And here's the delicious lunch I enjoyed shortly after...


This leads me nicely on to my next point. What am I eating nowadays? I share a lot of food pictures on Instagram and obviously there's a huge back catalogue on this blog. (Seriously, don't start looking through if you're hungry, I make that mistake too often!). If you follow me, you may or may not have noticed a distinct lack of grains recently. Trust me, this is no mean feat in Asia. 


Those who know me well or who've followed my blog over the past few years will be aware I've dabbled in Paleo for prolonged periods. It's becoming more and more mainstream now, but for those who've not heard of it, eating Paleo means cutting out all grains (like wheat, corn, oats, rice, barley, quinoa), legumes (beans, pulses and peas), processed foods and refined sugars. I know, sounds awful, right? Trust me, it isn't. What you do eat are absolutely tonnes of vegetables, fruit, nuts and other healthy fats like avocados and coconut oil plus meat, eggs and fish. To be honest, I thrived on it. 


However, Paleo has been tough to sustain for a number of reasons. While I was still in the UK, when I reached a more stressful period in my life, it lead to some disordered eating patterns for me. I've been a binge eater in the past and spent most of my late teens and twenties on a diet. Having a list of 'no' foods started to lead to me craving them, and then over eating them when I 'gave in'. Luckily I've never gone down the bulimic path, but bingeing is no fun either, trust me. So, I decided that in the stressful lead up to us coming away travelling I needed to loosen the reins and leave Paleo on the back burner in order to preserve my sanity. 


On the road I've done my best to try and stay healthy and stick to my favourite Paleo principles, but when you're on a very tight budget and the free breakfast in the hostel is porridge or toast and jam, you either go hungry or bite it. But it really didn't make me feel good. I didn't feel like myself - my skin was lacklustre, I lacked energy... I tried my best to make good choices for myself, but often still compromised due to costs or there being no other option. 

In Asia I've reached my limit. I want to go home in April feeling GOOD. So, despite having recently travelled through countries where every meal is based around noodles, rice or bread (actually, that's pretty much global!) I'm back to eating what makes me feel great. And it still really does. It's also meant I've had the energy to step up my exercise quota and I generally feel far more positive. Cutting out booze for the past five weeks has probably helped, too!


haven't binged since October, and it's only happened twice on this whole trip, actually. I really hope it means I've finally found some balance with this eating thing, although I never say never. It's a journey. 

I still have some treats, like a delicious lassi yoghurt drink and some homemade jam, which seems to keep me happy and sane. So, if you're wondering why things have changed again in the food department, it's because I'm being true to what suits my body. 


We're all different, so I'd never suggest you should eat this way too, but if you are curious about the Paleo diet I highly recommend the resources listed below. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at chillichocolatelover@gmail.com or leave a comment below. You can also find me on Instagram pretty much constantly under jodeapakos. What can I say, I'm addicted!

Have a happy, healthy week darlings x

- Whole 30 website
- Eat the Yolks written by Liz Wolfe 
- Nom Nom Paleo blog
- Balanced Bites podcast by Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe




Friday, 6 March 2015

Let it go

As we come towards the end of our year on the road, I've started to reflect on what impact it has had on me as a person. 

At 35 I don't kid myself that there isn't still time to grow and change, but I do feel that I know myself pretty well. There have been no thunderclap moments where I see life in a whole new light, no revelations encouraging me to take a whole new path in life. And that's fine. Instead there have been lots of small things, that have made me think a little differently and reflect on what's really important to me. 

Weathering the storm in NZ. 


The number one thing I've had to do is become more tolerant. Just let things go. This is hard for me, but I've surprised myself, and Andy, over recent months with how much I now let just wash over my head. In fact, he gets more stressed out than me sometimes. Unheard of before! Plans get disrupted, people let you down, the unexpected comes up again and again out here. But we keep going and things tend to work out. Costly problems with our flights meant we got an extra week in New Zealand, which turned out to be one of our favourite places. Indian visa issues (don't get me started!) have lead to extra time here in Sri Lanka, which is no bad thing. 

Sri Lanka. 


I've come to believe that if you just let it go, things will turn out how they're meant to, and I see karma in action all the time while travelling. I really hope I can continue to feel this way once I get back to life at home. 

Can't wait to get fermenting!


Another thing that really strikes me is how I want to live much more sustainably. Eating locally, making my own food, cleaning and beauty products, shopping in my neighbourhood. If we all just looked after and nurtured our little patches of the planet and supported our own communities, things would be a lot simpler. These are ideas I've dabbled with in the past, but I've always ended up shopping at the big supermarket because it's easier and just bought the cheap nasty cleaning products because we were on a budget... But it made me feel bad. No more. It's all about feeling good about my choices from now on, even if it means going without some little consumer luxuries. 

Travelling and being away from the pressures of daily life has given me the perspective I needed. I love my life in the UK and can't wait to get back to it and make the tweaks that will make me a happier and more fulfilled person. Not everyone is able to step away for such a long period, but we can all take stock and think about what will really make our lives better. It could be that new dress or it could be something that's going to nourish your soul, like taking the time to grow your own herbs or make kombucha... Something I can't wait to try. 

Whatever makes you happy.